23 state attorney generals urge Kia, Hyundai to install anti-theft devices on vehicles
It's been a troubling trend on TikTok targeting owners of Kia and Hyundai vehicles because they're supposedly easier to steal. Now, attorney generals from 23 states have sent a letter to the automakers demanding they install anti-theft immobilizers on their vehicles.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James is one of the people who put their her signature on the letter.
The call for action comes after a social media trend on TikTok blew up – showing viewers how to hot wire the cars using a USB cord and a screw driver.
News 12 Long Island has learned not all Kias and Hyundais are affected, only certain models and years that do not have the antitheft immobilizers.
According to the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration, over 8 million of these cars can be affected. Meanwhile, federal regulators say this challenge has caused at least 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities.
Some Kia owners tell News 12 they are worried and will now make sure to double lock the car.
The car manufacturers have created upgrades to the system that are free of charge for the car owners. However, political leaders say it is not enough due to the alarmingly high level of vehicle theft rates that have been ongoing.
Kia and Hyundai say they are working with local police agencies to help provide wheel locks to owners to prevent thefts.
A spokesperson for Hyundai told News 12 that "all of their vehicle produced since November 2021 are equipped with an engine immobilizer as
standard equipment. They are also providing free steering wheel locks to law enforcement agencies for distribution to local residents who own, or lease affected models."
In a separate statement from Kia, the car manufacturer says, they have "already provided more than 23,000 steering wheel locks to over 120 law enforcement agencies nationwide for them to distribute at no cost."